Carol / Mainstream Fiction / Women's Fiction

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

download (2)It’s summer, it’s Paris, and French lessons could never just be about language skills!
Three Americans: Josie, a high school French teacher; Riley, a woman whose husband’s company sent him to their Paris office; and Jeremy, the husband of an American film star shooting in Paris – have all hired French tutors from the same agency.
Three young Parisians: Nico, who believes he’s in love with fellow tutor Chantal; Chantal, who’s been having a tumultuous affair with fellow tutor Philippe; and Philippe, who, as Chantal says, “…loves falling in love. He does not love being in love.”
By the end of the day we spend with them, much is revealed and much accomplished. As each pair strolls the boulevards of Paris, conversing in French, more than words are pulled from deep inside. Relationships end and begin, a torn soul starts to heal, sharing a secret allows a youth to become a man, and a heart reconfirms its home.
Great literature? No. But one gets a feel for Paris and the characters are basically well-defined and engaging. A fresh croissant is almost without substance in the hand and on the tongue, but who has not found its delicate, buttery flakes to be satisfying in the extreme?


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